TiVo Gives Up on Cable

The New York Times > Technology > Breaking Free of Cable’s Stranglehold TiVo is throwing in the towel on cable. According to CEO Mike Ramsay, “offering service through one of the primary cable platforms is not the best way to grow our business at this time, because the economics are not very attractive, instead, we have decided to embrace the PC as our friend.”

This may add to the complexity of an already convoluted message that TiVo has been criticized for being unable to articulate to the masses. In the same article TiVo says it plans to introduce a new line of recorders that will accept CableCards. The company has declined to say when new machines will be introduced (Reuters says early 2006) or how much they will cost. Most significantly, there is still no elaboration as to whether this new standalone box will be able to record cable or satellite HDTV.

The article stresses the importance for PVRs of the upcoming CableCard and notes that the new HP Linux Media Hub machine also has a CableCard slot. “The new Media Hub that Hewlett-Packard is showing here is a computer using the Linux operating system, a machine that includes a video recorder and two high-definition television tuners. It has a CableCard slot.” Good work on getting at least two HDTV tuners in the box HP.

Still, the real question that has not been answered and still needs to be answered is will the HP Media Hub or this new TiVo box that Ramsay is talking to the New York Times about support cable or satellite HDTV offerings? Without this important feature, both products are toast.

Reuters has an article out that seems to insinuate that the box that TiVo is working on would support cable HDTV recording but it still is not entirely clear, “TiVo said it would launch in early 2006 a cable-ready, high-definition DVR with CableCARD built in, that also includes a cable tuner.” Would this be a box that records HDTV via OTA and regular cable via the cable card, or would this box actually record cable HDTV?